A new initiative offers discounts to users who book a future holiday, and gives free stays to healthcare workers for each holiday booked
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Spotted: Among the businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are those associated with travel – including airlines, hotels, B&Bs, resorts, and more. Now, an initiative called BuyOneGiveOne “Vacay Layaway” (BOGO) allows users to purchase future travel at a discount, while also donating a holiday to a health care worker.
Participants in the programme include chains such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Red Lion Hotels Corporation, Funjet Vacations, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, and others. Each participating hospitality brand has created special offers for BOGO participants. These range from discounted stays to extra loyalty points that can be redeemed just before travel.
For each BOGO holiday purchased, the brands also donate room nights, gift cards or loyalty points to charitable health care organisations, such as the American Nurses Association. These are then distributed to healthcare workers, who can use them to help pay for a well-deserved holiday. For example, bookings at Outrigger’s Waikiki resorts are up to 20 per cent off and for every booking, the company will provide a free night to healthcare workers. Outrigger aims to give away 1,000 free nights.
The initiative’s stated mission is to provide “immediate funds to hotels in this unprecedented time, in addition to a much-deserved respite to those who have put their lives on the line to care for the sick.” The initiative is running through the end of June.
As the coronavirus lockdowns are gradually eased, a big concern is how to help the many businesses in the hospitality sector recover and rebuild their customer base. Initiatives such as BOGO’s “Vacay Layaway” are a part of this recovery. Other innovations we have seen are a live-streamed, remote-controlled tour of the Faroe Islands, which aims to keep the destination in the forefront of people’s minds, and a renewed emphasis on sustainability in travel companies.